How To Wash Your Cloth Diapers

The actual washing process for your diapers is pretty simple. With the addition of a couple of extra rinse cycles, it is basically like washing anything else! 

First Wash 

When you first get your new cloth diapers, wash them in warm or hot water (up to 140F) once with detergent before your baby wears them. This will remove any chemicals or other substances left over from manufacturing, as well as soften them and help them shrink to the right size for your baby. The softer the diaper, the more absorbent they are!

Fabrics like organic and unbleached cotton, as well as hemp products can require a few washes before they reach maximum absorbency. My advice? While it can take a few hot water washes to achieve this, you can go with using the diapers after just 1 wash.

NOTE
: Don't use fabric softener, EVER. That will coat the fabric fibers and prevent them from fluffing to full absorbency.


Everyday Washing

Before throwing your diapers in the washer, make sure all solid waste is out of your baby’s diaper and that all of your diapers are open so that the soiled areas will be cleaned. Remove inserts and/or prefolds from their outer covers to make sure they are thoroughly cleaned as well. Don't overload your machine. About two dozen diapers per load works well, the load can vary depending on your washing machine. When using a laundromat, you can load more diapers.

Step 1: Run the diapers through a short warm-water rinse cycle (or prewash, if your washer has such a setting) with detergent. This will pull out any of the solids leftover in the soiled diapers and keep them from staining.

Step 2: Once the prewash is complete, set your washer to a hot wash (up to 140F/60C) with a cold or warm rinse. Use the prescribed amount of laundry detergent recommended on the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have hard water, add a water softener such as Calgon.
When the wash is finished, examine your diapers. Make sure that they’re clean and smell good. If they aren’t clean and still smell bad, rewash them, using a hot wash and cold or warm rinse.
Step 3: Now your diapers are nice and clean, put them in the dryer in warm or hot setting (up to 140F).

Now you’ve got a pile of fresh and clean diapers, all you have to do is stuff them (depending on the style) and/or put them away!

Repeat every 2-3 days.

Avoid using fabric softeners, dryer sheets, or diaper rash creams. They leave a waxy residue on the fabric, making them less absorbent, and more likely to cause leaks and rashes
How much detergent should I use? Make sure you are using enough, otherwise your diapers won't get clean. Follow the prescribed amounts on the detergent's packaging. Using too little will cause your diapers to stink, and too much detergent can leave residue that will cause diapers to stink and leak.

Do I have to wash covers separately?
Our diaper covers can be washed and dried with your diapers. Line drying will extend the life of the cover longer, but occasional dryer run is fine too. 


Do I have to "dunk"? Nope! There’s no need to dunk your diaper in the toilet before washing.

If your baby is exclusively breastfed you don't need to rinse the diaper at all - the poop will wash right out. If your older baby is eating solid foods, then you will need to dump most of the solid waste into the toilet before washing.
Some parents keep a scraper under the bathroom sink and scrape the solid waste into the toilet, while others buy a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet.
After the bulk of the waste is off the diaper, follow the same wash routine.
Should I use a wet or dry diaper pail?
We recommend a dry pail, because a wet pail can breed bacteria that can be hazardous to your home. A regular kitchen-style garbage can with a closing lid works best for cloth diapers.

   

GO BACK TO THE CLOTH DIAPER BASIC HOME PAGE »